On Supposed Reforms and Unjust Lashings: A Saudi Woman Speaks Out


Last Sunday, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia gave a speech to the Shura Council in which he granted Saudi women the right to vote and run in municipal elections starting in 2015 and promised to appoint women to the Shura Council in 2013. Such political rights are welcome because of their social implications. That a […]

For Saudi Women, Voting Win Masks Driving Crackdown

Manal al sharif

In a national TV address Sunday, Saudi King Abdullah declared an end to the de facto ban on women’s suffrage. Beginning in 2015, women will be able to vote and run in local elections. This seemingly good news, heralded by the AP as “a major advancement for the rights of women,” overshadowed disturbing developments that […]

Newsflash: King Abdullah Grants Saudi Women the Right to Vote–In 2015

saudi arabian

On Sunday, 87-year-old King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia announced plans to allow women to vote, run for office in local elections and serve on the Shura Council, the 150-member king’s advisory board. However, the changes won’t take place until 2015, and some skeptics think the king will rescind the order by then. Regardless, the move […]

Update: Still No Justice for Jordan’s Garment Workers


Last week, the Ms. blog reported on the alleged rape of a Bangladeshi garment workers at a Classic Fashion garment factory in Jordan. Classic Fashion has roughly 5,000 employees–mostly guest-workers from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and India who come to Jordan to earn more money than they could at home. The factory supplies garments to big-box […]

Another Jordanian Worker Making U.S. Clothes Alleges Factory Rapes


This week, another Bangladeshi woman has come forward to allege rape by managers at Classic Fashion, a garment factory in Jordan that supplies U.S.-based corporations such as Wal-Mart, Target and Macy’s. In June, human rights NGO the Institute for Global Labor and Human Rights (IGLHR) released an 82-page report with worker testimonials that describe repeated […]

Newsflash: 14 U.S. Senators Call for End of Saudi Women Driving Ban


Yesterday, 14 U.S. Senators–all of them women–sent a joint letter to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia asking him to end the ban on women driving in the kingdom. Arguing that the ban “stands in stark contrast with the commitments your government has made to promote the rights of Saudi women,” the letter reads: In June […]

Masses of Yemeni Women Defy Oppression–And Stereotypes


When a wave of protesters took to the streets in the Yemeni city of Taiz this week, a mass of black-clad women once again stood out in the crowd. To Westerners, their conservative dress might seem incongruous in a pro-democracy uprising, but these women represent the backbone of Yemen’s revolution: ordinary people galvanized by unbearable […]

Saudi Women Drive!


Millions of eyes were trained on Saudi Arabia this Friday, June 17. Would Saudi women be able to fulfill their online pledge to drive cars, in defiance of the kingdom’s demobilizing ban? As participant Solafa Kurdi told Ms.: It’s my right. There’s nothing mentioned in my religion that I’m not supposed to be able to […]

Iraqi Feminists Sexually Assaulted During Pro-Democracy Protests


In Baghdad’s Tahrir Square on Friday, four women participating in a pro-democracy demonstration were molested and beaten by government-sponsored protesters who swarmed the square. Those assaulted were a part of a 25-woman delegation from the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq, the country’s leading women’s rights group, there to create a visible women’s presence in the […]

Can Social Networking Put Saudi Women Behind the Wheel?


Since 1979, women have not been allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia. Manal Al-Sharif–who learned to drive in the U.S.–is fed up with the rule. So she posted a video on YouTube explaining why protesting women will start driving in Saudi Arabia beginning on June 17, and who the organizers of the “I Will Drive […]